‘How to Adult’ : From Car Maintenance to Following your Dreams

To celebrate Youth Week, the youth of Yass and Yass Valley Council volunteers gathered around Gundaroo for a “How To Adult” program, designed to teach young people in the community basic life necessities such as meal preparation, the basics of car maintenance, financial assistance, and mental health awareness and help. The event was organised, facilitated and supervised by Council members Robyn Zwar, events coordinator and media and communications Officer and Lynette Safranek, Director of Corporate and Community. Robyn Zwar shares the activities present, as well as their importance to the youth and the wider community.

To start the day off, the group of kids (aged roughly around teenage years) and volunteers met at Gundaroo and began with the first of the three primary activities, vehicle maintenance. Volunteer Dereck Crook arrived in his own vehicle, and along with the volunteer’s vehicles and the youth old enough to drive, went over the basic lessons, skills and practices.

Following on from vehicle maintenance was financial advice from Glen Stewart, conducting a lesson on how to save, spend and have emergency accounts, demonstrating by a game of fake money and bills so that the kids could budget. The three primary focuses were the distinction of a spending account, saving account and emergency account, sound financial advice for young people growing up who, in challenging financial times, need to know hot to get ahead and remain afloat, with volunteers jokingly commenting;

“Interesting watching their faces drop when they had bills to pay but no money in their accounts, we all know how that feels.”

The day continued with a brief yoga lesson, conducted by Skye Regan. The yoga session acted as a segue into the Wellbeings Chats part of the day, conducted by Skye. The Wellbeing Chats were particularly impactful to the volunteers, shedding light on the experienced and strengths of these kids, as commented on by Robyn;

“It was really amazing that they felt comfortable.  I thought that was incredible to open up to strangers.  I was very emotional at the end”, said Robyn.

Heading into the evening, the kids were instructed on how to cook dinner by volunteer Talia, with curry dishes made from scratch. The dinners were later served to the youth’s parents, followed by a music session with Will Campbell where the kids played alongside. Grace Armour, Yass Show’s Society winner of the Young Woman of 2023 award, attended and spoke to the children about achieving goals and fulfilling your dreams.

All in all the day served as largely practical lessons, often the ones missed by the education system, as Robyn pointed out, along with moral support and life coaching. Robyn commented on her high regard for the children and the session, saying;

“I felt the whole day was all about the children. They were so beautifully behaved. Enthralled, polite, it was amazing. It was life skills, and they took it on board. From the outside looking in, it was quite a humbling day”, said Robyn.

Robyn hopes to have such sessions continue, outside of youth week, and looks forward to having more opportunities with Yass Valley’s youth

Griffin Palen